Dunlavy - "The Navigator Closes His Eyes"
(Camera Obscura 2002, CAM053CD)
From Aural Innovations #22 (January 2003)
This is the 7th full-length album from Houston acid psych-rocker(s), Dunlavy. Since I havenít heard any of Dunlavyís previous releases, I canít really compare this one to those, but The Navigator Closes His Eyes managed to grab me right away with its opening mesmerizing instrumental track.
Unknown is exactly that. Rich keyboard tones and droning guitars race along over a driving rhythm, as ethereal radio voices drift in and out of the mix. A sense of brooding mystery is immediately established. In sharp contrast, Lanceís Story is a funky acidic romp, with main man Scott Grimmís partner, Sassy, narrating the story of a guy who witnesses a shooting while tripping on LSD. The Crushing Weight is the first of two 10+ minute excursions on the album. This one is a slow and heavy, fuzzed out psychedelic cruncher of a jam, with menacing vocal harmonies. Sandwiched between the two longer tracks is the shorter Elegy, a ghostly ambient dirge that makes for a nice intro to the albumís highlight, the brilliant Little One. Combining dark, folksy acoustic guitar with eerie, haunting electric guitar and phased, spacey melodies, it tells the nihilistic story of an astronaut and his navigator (the one from albumís title!), the sole survivors of a spaceship crash on a lonely distant world where ultimate survival will not be possible. The album concludes with the acoustic based rocker, Mohawk Valley, which has a cool bluesy/country feel to it, but still remains firmly within the psych territory of the rest of the album.
I canít tell you how The Navigator Closes His Eyes compares to Dunlavyís other releases, but I can tell you this much: at the end of itís 40 or so minutes, it left me definitely wanting to hear more.
For more information you can visit the Camera Obscura web site at: http://www.cameraobscura.com.au.
Contact via snail mail c/o Camera Obscura; PO Box 5069; Burnley VIC 3121; Australia.
Reviewed by Jeff Fitzgerald